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Savoury cake and a cracked cup

It was mainly from the thirteenth century that bread in Italy began to be filled with all sorts of ingredients, ranging from meat, fish, vegetables, fresh herbs, eggs, cheeses. The decision on whether going for a spinach filled or a cheese flavoured savoury cake would vary according to the season, the market supply and the local traditions. For this recipe, you can use the pretty cups of teas we all have in our kitchens. I inherited mine from my nonna. As much as I try to treat them rather immaculately, these little beauties still have to withstand the stress of my multiple-cities constant moving. That's how one fine day, after having finally received a lost luggage, as I unwrapped the cups carefully, I heard the sound of a break. One of them detached itself from the rest of the group by means of a vertical crack. Change of perspective, then. So I put it to good use, at the centre of my cupboard, near the scale.  And it's now standing there with a whole new life's purpose. The reason why I sometimes like to use cups whilst cooking is that the whole idea is to enjoy the #foodhappiness process without getting stuck on analyzing measurements. This is a recipe I created for a French video production project. My other videos from this same adventure can be viewed in my videos section. I love the idea of capturing the moist of the egg with the delicious pitted olives. If you find watching the video tempting enough, then you’ll be even more thrilled at the idea of reproducing it with the instructions below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mvyY7ckJ9zo

Cheesy savoury cake with salami and olives (serves 6)

Ingredients:

  • 3 free-range fresh large eggs
  • 2 all purpose flour cups
  • 160 gr. of Emmental cheese
  • 1 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
  • 80 gr. pitted black olives
  • 30 gr. rosemary
  • 100 gr. Italian Napoli salami
  • 1 cup of vegetable oil
  • 1 pinch of fine salt
  • 1 cup of fresh whole milk
  • 1 cup of fresh natural yogurt
  • 1 tsp. dried bake yeast
  • 1 cup of potato starch

First of all, preheat the oven at 180°.

Remove the salami from its skin, then cut it into thin slices and then into cubes. Cut the Swiss cheese in dices too, then set aside. Mix the Parmesan cheese with the yogurt in a big bowl. In two small bowls, separate the whites from the egg yolks, and add the yolks to the parmesan and yogurt mixture. Set the whites on the side. Add salt and oil to the main bowl and stir thoroughly. Sift the flour and the baking yeast, to then add them to the batter. Finally add the milk and mix.

Once all the liquids have been dealt with, you can now proceed onto mixing in the Swiss cheese, the salami and the final touch: the olives. Stir well. Whip the egg whites up.  Once they are nice and firm, blend them gently in the dough, putting particolar attention as to not breaking the whites. Ideally you should incorporate them working with a spatula from the bottom upwards.

Pour the batter into the mold. Finally add the rosemary on top. Bake for approximately 35 min. at 180 °.

With love and savoury cake,

Eleonora

The weekly Food Parlour

‘Food crisis responder’ Marsha Smith takes surplus produce from supermarkets in Nottingham, explains The Guardian, and cooks it for those in need. In a city suffering from food poverty, she is trying to shake up the system for good. Not bad for integrating #foodhappiness, for a social eating advocate. Shopping on an empty stomach? Go and eat something quick! People buy far more stuff and spend more money when they're hungry than when they're full, and that extends to non-edible goods, too, according to a study of the association between our bellies and our belongings discussed on the New Scientist. One day in 2007, Alison Jing Xu, who studies decision-making at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, sat down at a mall restaurant and suddenly regretted everything she had just bought. "I wondered why half an hour ago it had seemed like a good idea to buy 10 pairs of tights, not just the two I needed," she says. So what's going on? When we are hungry, our stomach releases a hormone called ghrelin. This acts on an area of the brain called the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, which is involved in reward and motivation, making people want to seek out and consume calories. Jing Xu suggests that ghrelin's effect also spills over into non-food domains – prompting you to acquire more of everything when you are hungry. "We'd like to make consumers aware of the possibility that if they go shopping on an empty stomach, they might spend more money that they intend to – so better feed themselves before they go out," she says.

DIY is taken to a whole new level, as the Daily Mail confirms that workers could save £1,300 a year if they made food at home rather than buying sandwiches and snacks from shops. More than 60 per cent of Britons who buy their lunches out spend an average of £1,840 a year, based on 46 working weeks, the research reveals. In comparison, those who prepare food at home spend just £552 over the same period - a saving of a whopping £1,288. Think of what the surplus could be spent on instead. It could even equate to an extra holiday.

A food supplement first developed by NASA could help fight depression. Brain Food is a supplement rich in docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which has been proven to improve concentration, co-ordination and memory. Steve Ahearne Managing Director of Scholars Nutrition developed the formula, as told by The Express. After reading research linking the chemical with improving brainpower, he decided to develop it into a food supplement to help tackle depression. "Some people still consider depression to be trivial or not a real illness but it can be a crippling mental health condition so any preventions you can take against it are vital," he said.

According to the Independent, people associate the luxury of an expensive restaurant with sexual pleasure, while eating tasty food in a cheap diner is more likely to be compared with drug addiction and physical trauma, scientists found. Diners at luxury restaurants praise the “orgasmic pastry” and “seductively seared foie gras”, whereas patrons of less salubrious establishments justify their food choices by claiming “the fries were like crack” or that they are “addicted to wings”. The findings come from a language analysis of more than 900,000 online reviews of 6,500 restaurants across seven American cities. The study compared the wording people used in giving good and bad reviews, as judged by how many stars they gave to a restaurant.

With love and pastries,

Eleonora

Kluger, Fabrique des Tartes

I love to meet and greet with likeminded people in the food sector, discover and learn from the places I go to. Honestly Paris never fails to impress, its vibrant food scene being a constant inspiration for me; I recently came across the very talented Catherine Kluger. A former lawyer turned tarte guru, Catherine decides to leave her legal job, in order to totally focus on the sweet & savoury art of French pies, initially thanks to the help of pâtisserie consultant Nicolas Bernardé. Whether quiche lorraine, carotte-citron confits or courgette-feta-crumble au parmesan, these tartes are a head turner, and her factory is a step into paradise. Why pies? "Because it's easy, useful and practical. Because they are part of French culinary heritage. Because, deep in our memory and our taste buds, lies the taste of a pie. Additionally, they can be easily adapted to urban nomadic life". Mrs. Kruger signed multiple deals over these past few years with French Marabout editions, publishing four books revealing the underside of her recipes, while keeping her store open and running and keep being a busy mom of three. What's more, she's been heading pop up restaurants, collaborating at hundreds of events, and she even managed to launch a Parisian food-truck. I call that the feminine French art of martyrdom.

This lady speaks to us through food, a language that we are all willing to learn. And the Tartes Kluger are, oh, so luscious. Flavour is deep, complex and utterly compelling. What's more their taste is an incredible barometer of the ingredients' authenticity. And the fact that it doesn't take any more than buying her latest book in order to reproduce some of these beauties, makes it a joy. I'm a huge fan of quiches, and I'm always on the lookout for new ways to interpret this traditional dish. For a picnic, a quick lunch, or a earthy party, these tartes are just the perfect fix. I love to have my cake and eat it too along with a warm, comforting soup. Catherine uses organic flours for the pie base and, I must admit, the overall taste does thanks for it.

For a few weeks more, until February 8th, as a result of a collaboration with natural store Sol Semilla, Katherine is snipping in her pies all kind of seeds @ her store at 15, rue Trousseau. The whole idea is to restore vitality and energy with a great powered menu. This, for me, is the magic ingredient here. We are in total healthy territory. Even if, it would be more accurate to say, superfoods heaven. And then there's the sweet version. Yes, I know we are still in the detox month for excellence, yet...every rule gets broken when things are brilliant. On with the dance.

Flan pâtissier*

For a flexible and elastic dough:

  • 250 gr. strong white bread wheat flour
  • 185 gr. very cold dairy unsalted butter
  • 25 cl. whole milk (warmed up)
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 pinch of sea salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla sugar

For the cream:

  • 225 ml of whole milk
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 45 gr. caster sugar
  • 15 gr. of cornstarch
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp Indian chai spices
  • 30 gr. dairy unsalted butter

Start with the dough: first of all, mix flour and salt, then add the vanilla sugar. Cut the butter into small pieces. With your fingertips, roll it delicately into the flour until it becomes nice and sandy. Keep your hands cool so not to heat up the butter: it should melt as little as possible. In a small bowl, mix the beaten egg and the milk with a fork. Dig a small well in the sandy mixture, pour the beaten egg in. With the flat of your hand, form a homogeneous dough by working the ingredients very cautiously.

Wrap the dough with plastic wrap forming a ball and let it rest in the refrigerator for at least one hour. After that, flatten the dough by tapping it with a rolling pin. Flour the work surface and roll out the dough until greater than the size of the mold disc. Gently pick the dough with a fork. Generously butter the mold and let the dough stick to its entire perimeter. As it is, let it rest for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator. Preheat the oven at 170°. Line the pastry with baking paper, ideally cut into circle. Place on some dry beans and precook the pie for 35 minutes at 170°. Then free the pie from its shell. Brush it with some egg wash and put it in the oven for three further minutes, in order to dry the gilding and thus make it solid before garnishing it.

Preheat the oven at 210°. Realize the custard: heat the milk, then pour a small amount of whipped eggs with sugar, spices and cornstarch. Pour this mixture into the hot milk and stir until the cream thickens. Pour the custard in the precooked pie shell. Bake it for 10 minutes at 210°, just the time for it to color nicely. Let cool completely before serving. It's better to make this dessert ideally the day before.

With love and flan,

Eleonora

* This recipe is taken from the book "La Fabrique des Tartes" by Catherine Kluger.

Flying food ideas

When your taste buds are way above the clouds, your normal sense of taste goes right out of the aeroplane’s window. Now airlines are trying to find ways to get our appetites back on track. So, according to BBC,  airlines have to give in-flight food an extra kick, by salting and spicing it much more than a restaurant on the ground ever would. Often, recipes are modified with additional salt or seasoning to account for the cabin dining atmosphere. The combination of dryness and low pressure reduces the sensitivity of your taste buds to sweet and salty foods by around 30%. Toast is popping up all over. According to USA today, it's one of the hot new tastes of 2015, along with seaweed and chocolate dark enough to resemble a black hole. This was toast as in the flavor of roasted bread, dripping with melted butter and possibly with a light dusting of sugar and cinnamon.

If you’ve ever exercised to lose weight, while reading the Washington Post, there’s a good chance the following thought has crossed your mind: “I worked out so hard. I deserve a treat!” It’s also pretty likely that you indulged post-workout in some food you’d deemed forbidden — or consumed more than usual — and in so doing ate back all the calories you burned.

air2

It’s January and with the New Year, New diet stories are everywhere—and suddenly so is the topic of broth, which is heating up on Forbes. The terms broth, bouillon and consommé are interchangeable, but the broth making news is bone broth or a rich, gelatinous stock made from boiling meat, fish and vegetables which results in a taste and flavor profile that is a far cry from its mass-produced cousins. The current broth boom is linked to the still popular Paleo diet, which lists broth as a staple.

Looking for some recipes? Here is the Huffington Post's list of 9 Vegan Food Hacks That Are The Height Of Inventiveness.

In a 1951 video on good eating habits, Bill races through breakfast, bolts his lunch like a coyote, spends the money he was supposed to buy soup with on candy and pop and has a desultory dinner. Naturally, he is sluggish while playing with his sweet train set. Later, he gets an excruciating stomach ache that can only be cured by a good night's sleep. With the help of the narrator, Bill learns to slow down and savor his meals and also to stay away from the junk food. In these fast paced times, can't we all take a page from Bill's book and slow down?

With love and broth,

Eleonora

Not at all Pizza e Fichi

"Qui non stiamo a pettinare le bambole" (we are not brushing the dolls) or "Mica pizza e fichi!" (not at all pizza with figs) both sound like highly improbable euphemisms yet, believe it or not, they are very common in the Italian daily language. This last one is a sentence, typical from the Roman slang, especially used when one wants to give importance to something they're talking about, using as a negative and "lower" yardstick the pizza with figs (for example: this is a Picasso painting, "mica pizza e fichi"!). Not that pizza and figs should have some kind of importance within the Two Chief World Systems, but I would say that it is placed on a par with other dishes representing  the backbone in the Italian gastronomical patrimony, such as Risotto ai Funghi, Pasta alla Norma (which I previously shared with you here) and the Sicilian Cassata. At a time where the "cibo povero" (food for the poor) would determine a social status linked with the agricultural background, back until about 30 years ago it was thought as very unbecoming in a big city to consume such simple food. Nowadays all gastronomic codes have been turned around, there's a whole new wave- not a trend but a consciusness raising - resulting in the appreciation of artisanal tradition hence this is a dish hold in high regard, a real delicatessen, even. This is due to its 2 main ingredients: prosciutto and figs. Whereas the latter are to be found over the months of september and october only, the finest ham, with its unscrupulous and only slightly salted taste, is a real chimera for all those who seek #foodhappiness. I will soon visit San Daniele, home of the highly esteemed prosciutto, to tell you a little of this incredible product. For my part I say that this pizza must be tried, it seems like an excellent solution for a snack, a main course on a lazy sunday evening, or a crunchy aperitivo. It's up to your tastebuds. The recipe is really easy, too!

PIZZA E FICHI

Serves 6 people as a starter/main course/snack

  • 350 gr. flour type 0 + some for the working surface
  • 20 gr. of fresh yeast
  • 300 gr. of thinly sliced Parma ham
  • 12 fresh figs in season
  • 50 gr. extra virgin olive oil
  • a pinch of fine sea salt

Dissolve the yeast in half a glass of lukewarm water (70 ml.) while, in another half a glass of warm water, you will dissolve the salt and a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. Sift the flour into a large bowl, make a well in the middle, pour in the water with the yeast and start kneading, adding little by little the water with salt and oil.

Let the dough rest in the bowl for 15 minutes, then take it back and knead on a floured board by by means of folding it over and over. Repeat the operation for a few times, remembering to sprinkle the work surface with a little flour. Place the dough back in the bowl, cover with a damp cloth and let rest in the lower part of the refrigerator (where you put the vegetables) for 24 hours.

Remove from the refrigerator and at this point let it rise at room temperature. As the dough becomes swollen (after 2 hours), now pre-heat the oven at 200° before placing the dough on a work surface dusted with flour and roll it out with the tip of your fingers. Place it in an oiled baking pan and place in the bottom of a preheated oven at 200° for 10 minutes. After this time, move the pan to the middle of the oven and cook for 15 further minutes.

Let the pizza cool, cut it into 6 pieces and garnish with prosciutto and figs, cut into wedges.

With love and pizza,

Eleonora

Genius Food Ideas

Researching makes a big part of my job. Whether I'm creating a recipe, testing a menu for a pop-up event or a workshop or writing the next story, the food sector implies a neverending joy that can be extended to many other domains, such as design, fashion, architecture, photography and, of course, lifestyle. I loved this food-meets-fashion photography idea by young and talented Catherine Losing, proving that, when it comes to food, there's no such thing as limitation in seeking life's pleasures.

foodmeetsfashion

Technological innovation may start to affect the expiration of our foods. So what's next? A BBC article explains how computer chips might be used in future to assess whether food was passing its prime. This could be more efficient than expiry dates, which do not account for the food's storage temperatures.

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Don't mess around with that girl. Cherry Bombe is a brand new bi-annual magazine that celebrates women and food - those who grow it, make it, serve it, style it, enjoy it and everything in between. It can be found in all hip places such as concept store Colette in Paris or the design museum satellite Do You Read Me?! right in bohemian Berlin.

cherry

A musical ever-green by Nancy Sinatra that I love listening to while creating in the kitchen. Press PLAY onto this image to see the many wonders of this funny creature and artist.

Nancy Sinatra in action

These boots are made for walking - Nancy Sinatra

Have a wonderful day !

Eleonora